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FY-2016: Ortel PAT doubles

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BENGALURU: The Bibhu Prasad Rath led regional cable television and broadband internet player Ortel Communications Limited (Ortel) reported more than double profit after tax (PAT) for the year ended 31 March 2016 (FY-2016, current year). Ortel reported 2.1 times the PAT in FY-2016 at Rs 11.93 crore (6.4 per cent margin) as compared to Rs 5.60 crore (3.6 per cent margin) in the previous year.

Note: The unit of currency in this report is the Indian rupee - Rs (also conventionally represented by INR). The Indian numbering system or the Vedic numbering system has been used to denote money values. The basic conversion to the international norm would be:

(a) 100,00,000 = 100 lakh = 10,000,000 = 10 million = 1 crore.

(b) 10,000 lakh = 100 crore = 1 arab = 1 billion.

Ortel’s Total Income from Operations (TIO) increased 21.3 per cent in the current year to Rs 187.70 crore as compared to Rs 154.79 crore in FY-2015.

For the quarter ended 31 March 2016 (Q4-2016, current quarter), Ortel’s PAT was less than half (declined 51.1 per cent) year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 2.76 crore (5.2 per cent margin) as compared to Rs 5.65 crore (12.6 per cent margin) and was 29 per cent lower quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) as compared to Rs 3.89 crore (8.1 per cent margin).

TIO in the current quarter increased 18.6 per cent YoY to Rs 53.28 crore as compared to Rs 44.91 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year and was 10.9 per cent higher than the Rs 48.03 crore in the immediate trailing quarter.

Ortel provides services in the Indian states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

Revenue breakup

Cable TV revenue in FY-2016 increased 20.3 per cent to Rs 130.5 crore from Rs 108.5 crore in the previous year. In Q4-2016, cable TV revenue grew 40.5 per cent YoY to Rs 39.1 crore from Rs 27.9 crore.

Cable TV Activation fees or connection fees in FY-2016 were 2.7 times at Rs 8.4 crore as compared to Rs 3.1 crore in the previous year. Cable TV subscription revenue in FY-2016 increased 9.6 per cent to Rs 86.6 crore from Rs 79 crore in the previous year. Channel carriage fees in the current year increased 34.9 per cent to Rs 35.6 crore from Rs 26.4 crore in FY-2015 Cale TV activation fee in the current quarter multiplied 7.5 times to Rs 6 crore from Rs 0.8 crore in Q4-2015.

Cable subscription revenue in Q4-2016 increased 26.5 per cent to Rs 24.8 crore from Rs 19.6 crore in Q4-2015. Channel carriage charge in Q4-2016 increased 11.2 per cent to Rs 8.3 crore from Rs 7.4 crore in the corresponding year ago quarter.

Broadband services revenue in FY-2016 increased 13.9 per cent to Rs 32.9 crore from Rs 28.9 crore in FY-2015. Internet connection fees in the current year increased 35 per cent to Rs 2.6 crore from Rs 1.9 crore in FY-2015. Internet subscription fees in FY-2016 increased 12.4 per cent to Rs 30.3 crore from Rs 20.7 crore in the previous year.

Broadband services revenue in Q4-2016 increased 20.3 per cent to Rs 8.9 crore from Rs 7.4 crore in Q4-2015. Internet fees in Q4-2016 increased 36.1 per cent to Rs 0.7 crore from Rs 0.5 crore. Internet subscription fee in Q4-2016 increased 19.2 per cent to Rs 8 crore from Rs 7.2 crore in Q4-2015.

Ortel’s revenue from its infrastructure leasing segment in FY-2016 increased 47 per cent to Rs 21.3 crore from Rs14.5 crore in FY-2015. Revenue from this segment in the current quarter declined to less than half to Rs 4.4 crore from Rs 8.9 crore in the corresponding year ago quarter.

On a geographical basis, in the current year, revenue from Ortel’c core market – Odisha increased 15.9 per cent to Rs 167.6 crore from Rs 144.6 crore in the previous year. Revenue from Odisha in Q4-2016 increased 6.4 per cent to Rs 44.6 crore from Rs 41.8 crore in Q4-015. EBIDTA from the Odisha region in FY-2016 increased 15.7 per cent to Rs 77.9 crore from Rs 6.73 crore in the previous year. EBIDTA in Q4-2016 from the Odisha region reduced 8.3 per cent to Rs 20.1 per cent from Rs 21.9 crore in Q4-2015.

Revenue from Ortel’s Emerging Markets (Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal) increased 60.1 per cent to Rs 19 crore in FY-2016 from Rs 11.9 crore in FY-2015. Emerging markets reported higher negative EBIDTA in FY-2016 at Rs 5.7 crore as compared to a negative EIDTA of Rs 4.1 per cent in the previous year. Revenue from emerging markets in Q4-2016 more than tripled (by 3.5 times) to Rs 8.4 crore from Rs 2.4 crore in Q4-2015. Emerging markets reported lower negative EBIDA of Rs 0.7 crore as compared to negative EBIDTA of Rs 0.9 crore in Q4-2015.

Subscription numbers (revenue generating units – RGUs’), ARPU

During the year, the total RGU additions (both cable and television) stood at 171,081 subscribers, taking the total RGUSs to 701,192. Net addition in Q4-2016 stood at 74,717 subscribers. Ortel says that it has 86,797 RGUs in the pipeline – to be integrated into the company’s last mile network in the coming months. The company says that about 65 per cent of the new RGUs were added in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh, while close to 70 per cent of the new signings were reported from these states.

Ortel says that it has seeded 107,175 Set Top Boxes (STB) during the year, thereby improving the digital penetration ratio to 37.1 per cent from 22.7 per cent in FY-2015. “We have sufficient STBs’ in stock to fully seed all our DAS phase III subscribers,” revealed Rath during a call with www.indiantelevision.com. He added that most of Ortel subscribers, including the new ones that the company was looking at on the way to 1 million (10 lakh) subscriber base were based in DAS phase III areas. “The sunset date for DAS phase IV is still 8 months away,” he added.

ARPU for subscribers converted from analogue to digital witnessed improvement in Q4–2016. Analog and Digital ARPU stood as Rs. 141 per month and Rs. 178 per month respectively.

Ortel reported a net addition of 13,963 internet subscribers in FY-2016 compared to 4,092 subscribers in FY-2015; Total Broadband RGUs were 72,482. The company expects significant growth in broadband subscribers in FY-2017 on the back of new network rollout, a strong team, solid back-end operations, attractive broadband packages and various other value-added services and initiatives.

Broadband ARPU in FY-2016 increased to Rs 398 from Rs 394 in FY-2015. Broadband ARPU in Q4-2016 increased to Rs 398 from Rs 396. Data usage in FY-2016 increased to 3,915 MB from 3,126 MB in the previous year.

Let us look at the other numbers reported by Ortel in brief

Total expenditure in the current stood at Rs. 126 crore, higher by 24 per cent as compared to FY-2015. Programming cost in FY-2016 came in higher at Rs. 37.5 crore – in-line with the RGU growth. Employee expenses during the current year stood higher at Rs. 22.5 crore. EBITDA in FY-2016 (including other income) came in at Rs. 70.3 crore, representing an increase of 18 per cent over FY-2015.

Company speak

Ortel President and CEO Rath said, “Ortel Communications reported healthy financial and operational performance during the year led by robust RGU additions of 1.71 lakh subscribers. Growth in our core businesses have primarily enabled us to double our PAT to Rs. 119 million in FY16. I am also pleased to state that 65 per cent of new RGUs have come from Non-Odisha states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. This reinforces our vision that the ‘last mile’ model can be successfully implemented in many states across India apart from our home market of Odisha.”

Elaborating on the guidance numbers indicated by him earlier for FY-2017, Rath explained, “Overall, we have ended the year on a strong note and are geared up to build on this momentum in the coming year. We remain focused towards achieving our stated target of 1 million subscribers by March 2017, which should make us the largest ‘last mile’ player in the country. We believe this model will make us one of the first few players in the sector to create sustainable value for all our stakeholders.”

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